Tuesday, April 13, 2004

So. I sometimes talk about writing here, but not often. For some reason I'm pretty private about writing, but not so much about my life, go figure! I have no clue what that means, but it must mean something. In any case, I have been writing A LOT since I finished the novel at the beginning of January. As soon as I finished it, I made some changes to certain scenes that had been nagging at me for months, and then I let it sit for a few weeks. Then I gave it to a few people to read, got some wonderful feedback. Went back into it about a month and a half after the first draft, and started cutting. That's my second draft process, at least for this book. Cut! Cut! Cut! Thirty pages, goodbye! I was surprised! I was a chopaholic. And it felt slightly addictive. And it made the book, I think, much better. Mainly I was clearing out clutter, connective tissue I'd written to get from one place in the book to another, but then actually didn't need once I got to the other side of whatever chasm I'd found myself pondering over. Now I've submitted the book to the Blue Heaven novel writing workshop, where I'll be going in less than two weeks (yay!) to have twelve other people tell me all sorts of crap I probably don't want to hear, but will listen to intently and deal with as appropriate to the book.

In between revisions to the novel, I've been writing stories. I've written a 50 page novelette, a real honest to goodness science fiction story. Weird!!!! Then I wrote a 32 page novelette (not science fiction, a ghost story, thankfully). Now I'm writing, you guessed it, another novelette it appears. I am near the thirty page mark and getting really really really mad, not because the story isn't working, but because it's yet another f-ing novelette. I did manage, during the writing of this most recent story, to stop and write a 6 page long story that I think is lots of fun, so I shouldn't complain, but I'm deeply concerned with this habitual novelette length I'm suddenly producing. I mean, I let stories be as long as they need to be. But it's harder to sell stories, I think, once they go over the 25 page mark. And as much as I love these stories, I have a whole hellova lot of novelettes all of a sudden (cause I had written one before the freakin novel too!) What to do, what to do. Should I even be frustrated, or should I just not concern myself with it all? I haven't been this bothered for a while. I used to write 20 to 25 page long stories. What happened?? Where have those gone? I think to some degree writing a novel has made the structural story space in my head somehow bigger, more complicated, so I'm juggling more balls in the new stories, but it means I need more space to do that. I'm not sure what I'm complaing about, but it's on my mind. And since I don't usually talk about my writing on here, I figured I'd bring it up, and if anyone has sage advice or wisdom, pass it on. Or send me money. That would make me feel better too. ;-)

I mean, I know I shouldn't complain. I've had a very productive year, and the stuff I'm writing I really truly believe is good stuff. And I'm often not so sure of my stories. I see their flaws, like I always have, but I also have begun to allow myself to see their strengths and the things they do well. Maybe it's just growing pains or something.

In any case, the new story I'm writing that is nearing the 30 page mark is also a ghost story. I am writing tons of freaking ghost stories all of a sudden. The next one I have planned is one too. What's up with all the ghosts and dead people? I just spent over four hundred pages with ghosts in the novel. You'd think I'd have had enough of that. I am feeling haunted. By ghosts and by novelettes.


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